The market is filled with hundreds of virtual reality headsets at different price points. At the beginning of 2018, Oculus cut the price point of their primary device Rift to $400. If that is too steep for your budget, No need to worry. There are excellent VR headsets in the affordable range that still give fantastic VR experience.
There are three primary types of VR headsets in the market – The PC powered headsets, the smartphone-powered headsets and standalone headsets. The PC powered ones are the top segment in the market and typically range from $300 to 1500 USD. At the lower end, the smartphone-powered VR sets are available starting from $10 up to $200. But some headsets may not work with all smartphones. In this article, we will explore the compatibility of different headsets and smartphones.
Google Cardboard: This is one of the cheapest VR headsets on the market. You can either make it at home from a DIY kit or buy a ready one from Google for as little as $20-$30. The cardboard works at its best with Google Pixel smartphones. Apart from the Pixel series, Cardboard is compatible with most of top and mid end phones from these brands.
Amazon fire, Huawei Ascend series, Huawei Honor, HTC, Nexus 4 and 5, LG Optimus series, Motorola Moto X and above, Samsung Galaxy S II and above, Sony Xperia P and S series.
The key is that the phone should have a magnetometer along with other features like the gyroscope, accelerometer, and an internal compass. If your phone has these, it will probably work with Cardboard.
Samsung Gear VR: Samsung released a VR headset specifically for its brand of phones. It comes with a controller and it’s a bit pricier than the Google Cardboard. Here is a list of phones that can work with this headset.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4,
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S8 and
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
It is possible to use Samsung Gear VR with a different headset. But it may require a bit of tweaking and not for the novice smartphone users.
There is an easy way to figure out if your Android phone is compatible with VR or not. Go to Google’s Playstore and try to download the “Cardboard” app. When you try to install if you get a message stating your handset is not compatible, then your phone does not have the features required to work with VR. In case you can download and install it successfully, you can use most of the smartphone powered VR headsets to enjoy virtual reality adventures. The experience also depends on the quality of your phone. VR experienced in a top end Pixel phone would differ greatly from the one you get in a budget phone.
Apart from the sensors, the quality of the smartphones’ screen and processing power also plays a big role in the VR experience.